Bloomberg: Money for nothing?
Apparently $500 million doesn’t go as far as it used to, said Erin Gloria Ryan in TheDailyBeast.com. That’s how much money billionaire Michael Bloomberg spent on his now-suspended 101-day “vanity campaign” for president. On Super Tuesday, that got him a pile of third- and fourth-place finishes, about 53 delegates, and a single victory, in American Samoa. He’d have been better off doing something fun with the money. Say, making “the beloved 2019 film Knives Out 12 times over” or buying half the Jacksonville Jaguars. Or if he was serious about winning, said Greg Sargent in The Washington Post, Bloomberg should have spent more. “The Samoan model” shows this would have worked. His “seven full-time staffers” in a tiny South Pacific territory secured 175 votes and a win. By that math, with only 2.6 million staffers he could have scored the nomination.
No, Bloomberg’s money won’t bring him to the Oval Office, but he’s still getting what he wanted, said Perry Bacon Jr. in FiveThirtyEight.com. He entered this race in November because it appeared that the Democrats’ centrist standard-bearer, Joe Biden, was floundering, leaving the field open for the left wing, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders. For $500 million, Bloomberg “got to go on stage in the debates and attack Sanders and Warren,” providing cover for Biden, who has since recovered nicely. So now the former New York mayor, whose own ambitions were always an unlikely backup plan, gets a more moderate nominee who he believes can beat Donald Trump. In fact, Bloomberg’s “money bomb” worked well enough to give Democrats a “blueprint for media strategy in the general election,” said Charlie Warzel in The New York Times. His “101-day billionaire media supernova” elevated a pedestrian campaigner with baggage into a plausible contender in a matter of months. He showed what worked and what didn’t, and in that context his “$500 million experiment” was “money well spent.”
One other thing the experiment proved was that “money can’t buy elections,” said Casey Given in WashingtonExaminer.com. Ever since the Supreme Court protected the “First Amendment right to spend money influencing politics” in Citizens United v. FEC in 2010, pundits and pols have “made careers” bemoaning the role of money in politics. Bloomberg’s “hopeless campaign” should put this argument to rest once and for all. Money can buy ads; it can buy events and campaign staff, but it “cannot buy votes.”